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The song’s sales pitch is infectious, but wholly unnecessary: Everyone in Japan is familiar with Line, not just the busy shoppers buying into the mania this winter morning.
Less than four years after Line’s launch, the company says that more than 560 million people worldwide have registered as members, the majority of them in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Those characters are two of the cartoon personalities who live in the app as giant emoji called stickers that Line offers for use when texting.
The shoppers jammed inside the story are snapping up a beguiling, bewildering range of items featuring the characters from the stickers.
Line is headquartered in Shibuya Hikarie, a gleaming high-rise in the heart of Shibuya, the Times Square–like hub of commerce centered around one of Japan’s busiest train stations.
I am here to meet Takeshi Idezawa, who was promoted from COO to CEO of Line Corp. Expecting Japanese formality, I’ve donned a suit and tie for the occasion, but Idezawa is dressed like a Silicon Valley exec, in a collarless gray shirt under a gray jacket.
2 billion: Approximate number of stickers that Line users send each other daily.
.49: Cost for a sheet of physical stickers featuring Line’s Brown the bear.
“It would be difficult to function here without it.”Spy on other passengers in the Tokyo subway, and there’s a more-than-decent chance that you’ll spot a salaryman or schoolgirl interacting on their smartphone with Brown, Cony, or one of the app’s other hyperlovable mascots. subscribers signed up, with nearly 4 million using the service regularly.